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Key takeaways from AI: Beyond the Hype – Avaus Expert Talks 2024

Confused about AI? You’re not alone! Within this year’s theme of “AI: Beyond the Hype”, Avaus Expert Talks 2024 offered practical advice to help you understand how to use AI effectively.

We unpacked AI in marketing and sales in a way that’s actually useful – and interesting, to help you understand how AI can (and should) impact your business. You get real-world insights from people in B2B and B2C who’ve already dipped their toes in the AI pool. And this is not only our belief, but it is based on the feedback gathered from participants after the event.

Find the recordings here or keep reading for the key takeaways.

In short, speakers talked about critical thinking skills needed for AI, real-world examples from early adopters, legal considerations, and the importance of human qualities like emotional intelligence (EQ). They stressed the importance of a clear plan, focusing on good, quality data, and using AI in a human-centric way to help people and makes things efficient.

But let’s go through all the topics one by one!

The Future of AI

First up was Nicklas Hermansson, founder of NomoFomo, who argued that AI is growing faster than past tech advances like the internet or smartphones. This rapid growth is due to how quickly AI is developing and the many solutions it offers across different areas.

It is likely to create a new layer between the seller, or creator, and the end user – a B2R2C, business-to-robot-to-consumer relationship. Companies will need to make sure that the robot/AI finds their products or message interesting enough to pass it forward to the actual human.

Among all these theories of the future one thing is certain: we have an exciting future ahead of us in the field of AI, one worth following closely.

Early Lessons on AI

Next, Nicklas Tibblin, VP of Business Development at Atlas Copco, shared their experiences as early users of AI. He highlighted the importance of running small tests (pilots) to understand how AI can benefit your business. Even though there are limitations, like the need for well-organized data and managing hallucinations, embracing change and building trust with your data is key.

Ultimately, using AI successfully requires everyone in the company to work together. You’ll need to take a comprehensive approach involving all parts of the company in a cross-functional setup.

Navigating the Unknown

Emma Storbacka, CEO of Avaus, compared using AI to finding your way in a dense forest. While it’s tempting to settle down and play it safe, it’s important to be aware of upcoming challenges (such as a forest fire approaching, i.e. the AI developments).

Emma emphasized that businesses need to start using AI now and have a clear, strategic plan and direction. She offered a framework, a pathfinder, for business leaders, urging them to focus on fixing basic issues like data quality and standardizing processes before exploring new technologies.

The sooner you start to fix your basics, the sooner you will be leveraging the beauty of AI on a bigger scale.

Read more about the framework Pathfinder here.

Turning Customers into Profit

Freddy Sobin (XXL) and Tom Lindberg (Viking Line) discussed using data and AI to boost profits from their customer base. They both agreed that AI is valuable for automating tasks, personalizing experiences, and reaching more customers in a better way.

Tom highlighted the importance of Avaus’s tools, methodologies and libraries for streamlining these processes. Freddy stressed the importance of testing different use cases, starting small, and being hands-on to learn and scale effectively. 

Stefan Hyttfors interviewing Freddy Sobin and Tom Lindberg. 

AI and Marketing

Jo O’Connor from Adobe emphasized that AI will become a normal part of marketing strategies to improve customer relationships.

While AI has been around for a while working behind the scenes, it’s becoming more visible now, especially in marketing where it helps identify potential customers, improve campaigns, and personalize outreach. Looking ahead, it’s important to consider both the good and bad sides of AI before using it, as there can be risks involved.

The Ethics of AI

Azra Osmancevic, a legal expert on technology, explained the ethical and legal considerations of using AI. She stressed the importance of using AI ethically and responsibly, focusing on human well-being and giving people more control. This involves protecting people’s privacy and getting feedback from a wide range of people.

To manage AI risks, Azra suggested a three-step approach: identify the risks, understand how likely they are and how bad they could be – and take steps to reduce those risks.

Preparing for the Future

Christoffer Rönnblad (McDonald’s) and Jan Guhres (Scania) discussed how businesses can prepare for a future driven by AI. They talked about the shift from separate IT and business operations to a more unified approach where both departments work together. This change is necessary because data needs to be centralized for AI to be effective and scalable. Challenges include getting everyone on board and adapting to new ways of working. Discussions often involve explaining the potential of AI to the business, or IT pushing solutions that don’t address real business needs.

Despite these initial hurdles, the focus is on using AI’s ability to grow and scale while making sure it aligns with business goals and targets.

Boosting Sales with AI

Henrik Larsson-Broman, from Mercuri International and founder of TrendBracer, walked us through how AI can help salespeople be more productive. He highlighted three human strengths that AI can improve, the three Cs: cognize (know/understand), create, and communicate.

Continuous learning remains important to be competitive, and AI’s role is to support these skills and streamline tasks, not replace enjoyable jobs.

The Importance of EQ

Inma Martinez, a leader in the AI field, wrapped up the talks by highlighting the growing importance of emotional intelligence (EQ) compared to just pure intelligence (IQ) in a world with AI. She argued that instead of fearing AI replacing us, we should focus on using it to make people stronger. AI has exciting possibilities, and Inma urged us to embrace its advantages. For example, AI is already being used in medicine to improve diagnoses, which reduces errors and frees doctors to focus on the human side of patient care.

As we move forward with AI, it’s important to consider the values we want to hold onto.

Here at Avaus, it’s become clear that a well-defined plan and the right tools, like good-quality data, are crucial to using AI effectively and responsibly. This way, we can reap the benefits of AI in a controlled and intentional manner.

And if you ask AI, this is a summary of the above key takeaways:

  • AI is here to stay. Experts agree AI is growing faster than the internet or smartphones.
  • Start small and get your data straight. Companies that tried AI early learned it’s important to test different uses and have good data.
  • Focus on people. AI shouldn’t replace people, it should make them more efficient.
  • Use AI ethically. This means protecting people’s privacy and using AI for good.
  • Get ready for a change. As AI becomes more common, businesses will need to change the way they work.

Do you agree? 

If you want to deep-dive in more content from the day, you should check out the event recordings as they also include all the online breakout sessions from leaders at Telia, Adobe, Kuubi, Aiven and Coop Norway.

Watch the recordings

Are you wondering how Avaus can support you with data, AI, automation and MarTech in marketing and sales? Get in touch!



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